So on Friday we were placed into small groups to go on a day trip to Kyoto with some Japanese students of Kansai Gaidai. A friend and I went with three Japanese students on our first ever Japanese train ride to sightsee in Kyoto. Once we figured out which train to get on, it was a very nice ride. On the limited express train, the seats shift back and forth so you can sit facing your friends. I just happened to meet with my speaking partner earlier in the day, and I showed her pictures of Harry Potter world in Universal, so unfortunately I carried my tablet around for the entire trip.
The first place we went to was Kinkakuji: The Golden Temple. The temple is literally made entirely of gold. We took many pictures. I am very excited to go back to the shrine when the cherry blossoms bloom. I also bought an おまもり、or an omamori. This is a charm for luck that lasts one year. There were many amulets there for 'traffic safety.' I bought one for 'dreams come true.' Then I promptly dropped it. But I also threw a coin directly into the rock bucket a la throwing a coin into a fountain, so I guess that would cancel out that bad sign.
I also had the pleasure of forgetting my tissues; so we had to pay 30 yen for tissues to use the Japanese toilet.
Don't ever use a Japanese style toilet.
Afterwards, we went to a festival at a shrine celebrating setsubun, which is a Japanese ceremony that happens in February. Families throw beans to ward off evil demons; you are supposed to eat your age in beans. I ate two; they look like they should taste like a peanut but they really do not taste like anything.
However, the festival was fantastic. I ate so much food from random stalls I cannot even remember what I ate. It was all so delicious.
We also then stopped at Shinkyogoku, which is a giant mall of stores and arcades. We did purikura and played the Taiko game. We also went to an anime store where I bought a phone charm.
It was very fun; I will put up pictures soon!